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May 15, 2018

It's officially paving season in Philadelphia

Maybe now we won't lose any more front bumpers to the city's potholes

Streets Department Potholes
potholes philadelphia streets Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A pedestrian jumps over a large pothole on Fairmount Avenue. Mayor Jim Kenney's 2019 budget proposal includes millions earmarked to improve and repair the city's roadways.

We're going to have to find something new to complain about soon.

The Philadelphia Streets Department has officially declared it paving season in the city — and not a moment too soon for some residents. A slew of roads are slated to get filled in South Philly this week.

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You can check if your block is on the Streets Department’s radar this season here.

Work will be completed between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the summer, and even into the fall.

And all of this means parking restrictions, too. Temporary "No Parking" signs will be posted in advance of each street paving. There's a good chance you'll get towed if you ignore these signs.

This all got me thinking about why we get potholes to begin with and why this time of year is notoriously pothole-ridden.

So here is a quick-hit explanation: When it rains or snows, that water seeps into the roadways through cracks in the asphalt. Vehicles passing over it force the water into the now soggy roadways, and it erodes over time.

Asphalt then sinks into the eroded parts, and chunks start coming off. So, it’s not rocket science, but it’s still a nuisance.

Here’s a more detailed explanation. But you get the picture.

During the paving process, a conventional paving method is used to mill off the top asphalt surface, prepare and repair utility manhole covers and any roadway base areas. Then a new asphalt top surface is applied, according to the Streets Department’s paving announcement.

This paving process will take about three to five weeks, and then they’ll add traffic lines. Expect this until November.